Thanks to television shows like What Not to Wear and Timm Gunn’s Guide to Style, I’ve recently discovered the joys of using a tailor’s services. If you know me well, you might wonder why I use a tailor when I have half a diploma in fashion design. Let’s just say I wasn’t paying particularly close attention when we studied hemming and other alterations.
I found an excellent little shop in a nearby mall. It’s run by this couple from Eastern Europe. He sews, she works the counter. They have charming accents and are always nicely dressed. At least by my lights, which means they don’t wear torn sweat pants and stained T-shirts. They get many visitors who go into the back with them and whenever I come along I have the vague sense that I’m interrupting something.
First I brought in pants to be hemmed. That went well, so I took in some inexpensive jeans that fit everywhere except the waist. The tailor did such a terrific job on that I now bring in just about everything because almost anything can be made to look better with a slight alteration.
In short, I have become a tailoring junky.
I have also started to sense a certain wryness in the tailor and his wife when I come along bearing my T-shirt that could use a tuck here and there or the skirt with the hem that isn’t quite right.
Like a lot of addicts trying to distract people from noticing all-too-obvious-addictive behaviour, I’ve started talking too much.
“Oh, hi!” I say, too brightly, when the woman comes to the counter. “It’s just me again! Heh, heh.”
She smiles but I’m sure I see judgment there. Maybe even pity. Did she just exchange a glance with her husband? I’m almost certain he gave his head a small shake.
I start making excuses.
“I know it’s really, you know, kind of weird to bring in this old turtleneck, but it hangs too low. And maybe I’ll wear it again if I get it altered. I really love the colour. You know, it’s so hard to get a turtleneck that’s the right colour. Important too, because you are basically wearing a colour right on your face, or at least at your face.” I start to wind down. “Yeah, so, I just thought I’d bring it in to see what you could do for me. Uh, I was wondering if those Fruit of the Looms I brought in last week are ready by any chance?”
Yesterday, on my trip to drop off some trackpants to have the waist band moved down an inch, I complimented the always stylish woman on her dress.
“Suzy Shier,” she said. “Fifteen dollars.”
Which made me think about the alteration I was having done for $20.
That set me off. “Oh, that’s great. Good for you! What a super deal. You know, I get most of the clothes I bring in here on sale. Some of them are practically free. Which is why I don’t mind having them altered. It’s still cheaper than, you know, having clothes that don’t fit. Like these track pants, for instance. How much do I really save I look like I’m wearing diapers? Nothing, right? Not that your dress looks like you’re wearing… never mind. Did you have it altered or did it always just look like that?”
Sigh. And so it goes.
I suspect that my career as a tailoring addict is going to either be short-lived or I’m going to have to get more than one dealer.
Here is one item in my wardrobe that does not require any alteration. My Bog boots, a birthday present from James, are perfection just as they are.